Category Archives: Race Reports

NEV Championship Weekend

MIT was up at the New England Velodrome this past weekend for the New Hampshire track championships and regional nationals qualifiers: two days of racing everything that could get you a medal at elite nationals. Tony Eberhart, the man behind the concrete oval curtain, even added in extra Cat 4 racing for us lowly non-elite riders. And, just to make it bike-crazy at the NEV park, the BMX track opened up this weekend with a full crowd of racers, spectators, and grill-for-hire.

El primer dia, the main set of races were all pursuits: 500m/3K or 1K/4K. The women all had good runs, with Yuri winning the 500m and everyone doing well in the 3K. Zach learned that he had too low of gearing on his rental track bike somewhere around the point that the tunnel vision started setting in during his 1K, which thankfully got corrected before his 4K run… which we’re guessing for times on, as the sun addled the brains of the officials. I remembered how much I didn’t like long pursuits. A points race closed out the day; Laura took off and lapped the field with teammates Martha and Yuri helping to control the pace and block the other riders. In the Cat 4’s, I took off on the second lap, hoping that the rest of the field (all pursuit guys) would realize it was a stupid move and wait to chase, giving me a small chance at getting a few points before being put out of contention. Nope. No such luck. Zach did a good job of staying on UVM Tristan’s wheel and followed him through the rest of the race.

Day two was sprints, mostly. Team sprints showcased the multi-age skill of the GOGUEN! family, forming two different teams which each tromped the other groups. Flying 200’s to seed the sprint tournament showed that we had several groupings that were, to within the clock’s uncertainty, equal competitors. (I turned white under my sunburn when I found out that Tristan, Manny GOGUEN! and I all had 200 times within 0.20 seconds of each other, and I was already scared of them from the previous day.) Unfortunatley, due to the smaller number of riders and the age-group divisions (ie, nationals qualifiers), most of the matched sprints were reduced to single shot, three-up races. In the women’s race, Laura tried going early to take advantage of her pursuit power, but sprinter Kim saw her winding up and grabbed the opportunity and took the win two laps later. My three-up with Tristan and Manny was a mixed bag of racing, starting with a fairly neutral lap and a second lap of meandering, with Manny going to a track stand at the top of the track during the fourth turn. (Tristan drifted just ahead of us, but I wasn’t about to give in to GOGUEN! on a track stand.) The kid finally took off, but he was “easy enough” to catch and tuck in, then match on the back stretch and just barely edge out at the line. The final race of the day was a scratch with combined Women’s and Cat 4 fields. I lead the first several laps, shutting Tristan out of the sprinter’s lane and picking up the pace each time I felt an attack coming from over the outside… except that it was teammate Laura doing the attacking. Oops. (Side note: human peripheral vision does not have color sensitivity.) The race finally blew apart with the pursuiters heading up the track and me failing to block in super-competitive Kim to help Laura. In the end, we all crossed the finish line safely, tired, and having learned something about track racing.

The next big race is two weeks from now, the second ECCC track weekend, hosted by the Kissena Velodrome in New York City. Now’s a good time to get your track bike in working order so that MIT can kick serious cogs down in Queens.

Nittany Cup: ECCC Track is back, baby!

This weekend marked the return of Track Season, and specifically, the second collegiate track season in the history of US cycling.  (Did I mention that the ECCC is the only conference with enough cogs to even consider a track season?)

Matt, Mike and I took a road trip down to T-Town for the opener, braving several hours of driving and traffic to get Mike there in time for the Pro races on Friday night. (Mike even sweet talked his way out of a toll.) It was pretty awesome to see a teammate competing with the likes of Giddeon Massie, Olympians, Worlds Champs, the New Zealand national team, and up-and-comers in the sport.  Our section of the bleachers held a special place in their heart for number 113, though, when they figured out who we were yelling obnoxiously for to lap the field.

Saturday was the collegiate competition, Matt’s first time on a track with a bank greater than 14 degrees, and my first time at T-Town since getting my nickname. It definitely did not fail to impress, especially for those of us Boston Hicks who quake at any hill greater than 2%.  Mike managed to pull out a flying-200 time a bit over 11 seconds, second only to the sprinter dude from Penn State whose name I just forgot.  The Kilo right afterwards was also a big win for Mike, who opted for the “fast and aero” approach, while Matt and I went for the “make it look painful and may Thor have mercy on our chains” approach.  (I managed to both cross the finish line and snag fifth.)  Matt and Mike, the endurance guys, both looked like they were having fun during the points race, with Matt using his new pursuit-ing skills to work with Greg Wasolowich (I swear, they must have had his name wrong on the sign-in, the announcer never got it right once) to maintain some ridiculous speed while Mike toyed with the scary fast guys for sprint points — accumulating enough to win the race.  I enjoyed watching from my vantage point somewhere just behind Sprinter Dude’s disheartened arse, which Mike graciously handed to him during the first points sprint. At the end, us three MIT’s rode a 4K team pursuit, which was a good show of teamwork and cottonmouth, and 2nd place points for the team.

Interspersed throughout the day, Mike also had to compete in the matched sprints, which the kid kept winning, thus ensuring that his legs would be completely toasted.  He made it to the final round against Sprinter Dude, who had competed the previous night against the Pros, and apparently had an infinite amount of pain he could sustain for exactly 2.01 laps.  I’m proud to say that Mike gave him a serious run for it, jumping fast and hanging on for a close second.

In all, the weekend in Pennsylvania was great: track, races, chilling, and Matt learning pretty much everything to know about track racing and riding rollers in less than 30 hours.

If you had come along, you could have also laughed at Matt’s ice cream headaches (all three), eaten Pepe’s white clam pizza with birch beer as recommended by Mike, and navigated better than Google.  Which means y’all should be doing a lot more track in the next couple weeks — and coming to Kissena for the next round of ECCC track.  Yes?  Yes.  Period.

Saturday Track Sprints at NEV

Thanks to help from Zach and Alex, who went on to race the Concord Crit, I managed to get up to the NEV to get some track back into my blood with their matched sprint tourney.  It was a small but highly determined (and speedy!) group of racers with some close rides and odd-ball three-ups in the early sessions.  In the final round, I went best-of-three with the US Hour Record holder (Men’s 50-54), Mike Pavlov, who was visiting NEV. In the first round, I took the obligation to lead the first lap, and attempted to slow Mike down to a reasonable speed by setting my bars in front of his and pushing him up to the wall… which Mike didn’t seem to notice. A true competitor, Mike held his line solidly and pushing back.  I got him at the end, though I’m not entirely sure how.  In the second round, Mike took the obligation and immediately took the speed up to his time trial spin. He dodged uptrack with 250m to go and I pulled under, with enough advantage to finish the race with a dodgy spin “around” the sprinter’s lane.  Either way, we were both tired, but hopefully managed to give the spectators a good finish to the day’s racing.  A big thanks to the New England Velodrome, Tony Eberhart, Mike Pavlov, and the rest of the Saturday racers.

Days 9 and 10: Return of the Chamois

Dear MIT Cycling,

Despite having some incredibly intense days during the last, oh, two weeks of driving team equipment around (and dealing with two different feed zones, yum!), I’d still qualify this as our most intense period.  Tim and I left Lincoln, NE early in the morning after visiting The Coffee House*.  We traveled across Iowa without stopping for more than gas and a reprise of the World’s Largest Truck Stop.  Tim then covered all of Illinois and a good chunk of Indiana.  He had the bad luck of getting the worst construction along I-80.  We continued across Ohio before taking time out for a celebratory dinner in which Tim again demonstrated his endless stomach capacity, only to be rivaled by the Death Star.  (Tim may have won.)  The literal mound of ice cream, toffee, and whipped cream they brought out would have brought any reasonable man to his knees: Tim proved he either had no knees or no reason.

Tim grabbed a load of late night coffee and took the night shift across the rest of Ohio, Penn, and a good portion of New York.  We switched off through to Lee, MA, where Tim again demonstrated his stomach capacity when devouring celebratory breakfasts** at the local diner.  (His breakfast bread pudding also came with a mound of whipped cream.)  We booked the rest of the distance back along the Mass Pike, arriving a only 10 minutes late (we got stuck behind an MIT shuttle bus picking up grad students who couldn’t walk the 1.00 km from Tang to 77 Mass Ave), which we figured was pretty good for having driven for twenty some hours.  And for those of you who were curious, yes, I did made my afternoon flight to the conference thanks to Tim’s heroic driving ability.

For those not keeping track: we saw eight states within 24 hours (out of nine total on our trip), rolled the van’s odometer over the 25,000 mile mark, accumulated enough bug guts on our windshield to feed a starving village for twelve days (see earlier posts), encountered two frat boys who took longer to order their coffee than an entire sorority going to Starbucks together (I can’t get what Suzie’s getting, what should I get instead?), and survived literally more miles than I could shake a stick at.  I did try, I promise.

Nationals Road Trip Out,


* Lincoln’s best coffee drinking atmosphere, with The Mill as a close second.  This is the place that got me started on the bean.  If you visit, try their mochas or teas, too.  Shameless plug done.

** Yep, that was plural on purpose.

Day 8: TTTTTTT (sorry, my teeff froze togeffer)

Dear MIT Cycling,

Today was the last day of competition in Colorado.  The cosmos decided to make up for the sunny and moderately temperate weather we had the first two days, opting for 40 degree temps (that’s not Celcius), drizzle, and reasonable wind.  Despite being well attuned to crummy weather thanks to the 84 weeks of cold rain we get in New England each year, it was still challenging for our riders.  (The Florida riders were, ah, “slightly less” prepared.)

The men’s team started first, and discovered some minor equipment issues that they worked out.  The guys bravely warmed up, if that’s what it could be called out there, then took the line as the wind was really starting to blow.  I’ll leave the details for a race report from one of the riders, but will quote Tim as saying that he was happy that he put in his maximum effort as the MIT Men pulled into 7th place after 17 miles of hard work.

As the women’s team warmed up, I became more aware that Martha is either insensitive to temperature or she’s a machine.  (Add your vote to the comments.)

The women had an unfortunate mishap out on the course: after a strong start, Martha flatted just after passing the first neutral support and had to continue riding a flat to the next neutral.  They finished in second place, about a minute behind the leaders, and recording the only flat on the course for the entire day.  The good news is that they’re in a great position for next year.

After the TTT, everyone returned to the hotel to pack and get their awards (2nd in the Team Omnium!) before heading back to MIT.  I also played Shuttle Bus with Coach and had an entertaining drive down to Denver International with Nicole in the jump seat for the third time in three days.  Yes, I was worried that we’d have to spend a day without driving somewhere together, but that fortunately got delayed until tomorrow.

Tim and I struck out for home, making it to Lincoln for the night and Ma Loomis’s brownies.

Monkeys and cogs,